With the end of August approaching, while the fields at the farm are producing a ridiculous amount of food of all varieties, comes a shift in thinking for me personally. Starting next week, I begin teaching again.
Working on the farm has always offered me a unique balance of down-and-dirty physical labor with the weird cerebral nature of teaching college art. Like every year around this time, the transition from body to mind brings it’s stresses its own special Cartesian way. However, there are moments when the these two worlds of farming and academia overlap, not just on the calendar, but in the general notion of beauty in the form of the veggies we harvest and eat.
When teaching the fundamentals of art, we talk about principles of design that help order visual information — balance, color, ratios, symmetry, composition — the list goes on and on. I often observe similar principles at work in fields in individual crops. From the way that the layers of fennel root overlaps in a fan pattern as it branches out into feathery plumes of licorice to the alternating growth patterns of the kale leaves, there is a remarkably ordered composition.
There is a relationship to the mathematical sequence of numbers in how things grow, how branches branch to the number of leaves, fruit or berries on a given branch— the Fibonacci Sequence. This sequence is also related to the Golden ratio, a proportion of thirds that is often used in visual art and the Golden Spiral, which can be seen in many brassicas, like cauliflower and, my absolute favorite because of how curiously perfect its fractal pattern is, Romanesco. So, perhaps there is more connection and overlap with the two worlds, in that one borrows from the other. So, eat with your eyes first this week!
So, thank you all for a great first half of the CSA season. I will be behind the scenes for most of our pickups from here on out. I look forward to celebrating with you all at our CSA party in October. See you then!